Sturgeon to set out vision for independence
Nicola Sturgeon is to publish a series of papers setting out her vision for an independent Scotland, with the first due out next week.
The documents have been prepared by civil servants under the supervision of Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson as the SNP builds a case for a second referendum. It is thought two papers will appear before parliament rises for the recess on 30 June.
It’s not known if the first papers will offer any clarity on unanswered questions around the legal advice given to the SNP government.
A two-page document was released earlier this week showing that ministers had been advised that they had a legal basis to test the independence question with the Electoral Commission.
But critics seized on a lack of detail on whether Holyrood ministers can legally hold a referendum on Scotland’s place in the UK without agreement from Westminster.
The UK government has repeatedly made clear its opposition to another referendum and stated that it would not grant the Scottish government the opportunity to hold one. The different positions and intentions of the two governments threatens to see the case fought in the courts.
During a session of Holyrood’s constitution committee, the Tory MSP Donald Cameron demanded to know from Mr Robertson and the Finance Secretary Kate Forbes whether a referendum would happen by the end of 2023.
Mr Robertson replied: “Yes. We can differ on how we would vote in such a referendum, but I would hope as democrats all of us believe in having democratic votes.”
Ms Forbes said: “That is the intention, and certainly that is what we’re working towards.”
The Constitution Secretary refused to say whether £20 million allocated for a second independence referendum would be redeployed to other services if a vote is delayed or cancelled.